The Metal Files

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Posts Tagged ‘album reviews

Satan “Atom By Atom” Album Review (2015)

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cover_onlineSatan have returned again with a new offering for 2015 on Listenable Records entitled “Atom By Atom” and it’s everything you’d expect after 2013’s Life Sentence.

This album rolls hard from beginning to end and proves once again that the guitar duo of Steve Ramsey and Russ Tippins is damn near untouchable.  Brian Ross’ vocals are on point and his patented high wails are ever prominent in all the right places.  After their Richmond, VA show in 2013, my friend asked Brian how he’s maintained his voice so well since “Court In the Act”.  Brian simply replied with, “It’s my job.”  And he still does it well.

“Atom By Atom” features 10 tracks and one thing I’ve noticed is that this album seems a bit darker lyrically than their last album and even “Court In the Act”.

Let’s go track by track:

  1. Farewell Evolution – The album opens with Brian’s falsetto, and lyrically tackles the lack of critical thinking in modern society.
  2. Fallen Saviour – “Some still believed that he’d return to save them”.  I think you can figure out the rest of the sentiment here.  I love the guitar solos in this one.
  3. Ruination – This is one of my favorites on the album so far.  The combination of the riffs and rhythm section matched with Ross’ descending vocal pattern just makes for a clean song.
  4. The Devil’s Infantry – Sean Taylor and Graeme English open this one with a marching pattern.  Lyrically what you’d think based on the title.  It all works so perfectly.  The breakdown/transition mid-song is killer.
  5. Atom By Atom – The opening riff on this gives me chills.  “Out to get you, atom by atom.”  You can hear Russ’ distinctive vocals in that part and it just sounds wonderful.  The solos are both crushing as well.
  6. In Contempt – What Satan album would be complete with a song dealing with judgement?  No worries here.  You got it and shan’t be disappointed!
  7. My Own God – Brian lays it out in this one with, “I am my own God, I made myself, broke the mold, life is what I make it, I will not be told.”
  8. Ahriman – Lyrically dealing with Zoroastrianism, of which I am not too familiar.  Great song though.  Love the backing vocals in the chorus.
  9. Bound In Enmity – This is a total fist pumper.  Riffs and licks for days.
  10. The Fall of Persephone – Final track on the record.  A bit of a slow roller and took a few extra listens to warm up to completely.  English has some great bass licks that really stand out.  This one clocks in at almost 7 minutes and has several parts.  The dueling guitar solos are perfect.

I really cannot praise this album enough.  It’s everything I expected and more and I can’t wait to get a physical copy in my hands and especially can’t wait to catch them live again.  If I could give only one critical opinion about this album, it would be in the drum production, mainly the snare.  On much of the album it’s just a bit too bright but really doesn’t detract from Sean’s solid playing or from the album itself.

Long live Satan and thanks to Listenable Records for letting me review this!

10/10!

Satan are:

Brian Ross
Russ Tippins
Steve Ramsey
Graeme English
Sean Taylor

l-r: English, Taylor, Tippins, Ramsey, Ross

l-r: English, Taylor, Tippins, Ramsey, Ross

Written by The Metal Files

September 19, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Power Trip – Manifest Decimation (2013) Album Review

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ptripHaving seen Power Trip several times since FUNFUNFUN fest 2010, I had always wanted a full length album from them.  Thanks to Southern Lord Records, I got my wish.

Power Trip take me back to quality mid-to-late 80s thrash…Nuclear Assault, Devastation, a little Slayer…and thankfully, I don’t hear any Pantera (Panterrible) influence.  A lot of folks mention the DRI crossover punk/hardcore thing, but I never really listened to any of that so I cannot say for sure.  I may hear a little Cro Mags, though.  And I do like the Cro Mags.  This young band from Dallas does it right.  It’s high quality thrash and unlike many of the screamo shit mall hot topic metal bands out there today, these guys play guitar solos.  You heard me.  GUITAR SOLOS!  Good ones, too.

I bought this CD (yes, a CD) last week and have spun it at least 10 times now.  I absolutely love it.  If you’re into classic thrash, I highly recommend this band.  There are a lot of newer retro thrash bands out there, but I think Power Trip is a cut above them all.

While I like Riley’s singing style, I think they could have been produced a little better.  They are washed in the mix too much for my tastes.  But it’s not much of a detraction from the overall vibe and sound of this album.  I also don’t think there are any songs worth skipping on here.  It works perfectly beginning to end.  The album runs through quickly and can easily be played through twice.

9/10 – Enjoy!

Ignitor Mix Tape ’85 Review

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Mixtape_85_BS_cover-300My history with Ignitor isn’t that deep as I only picked up on them when Jason McMaster joined the band in 2009ish.  That doesn’t detract from the Erika Tandy era at all, I just went backwards with their discography.  Ignitor is quality metal, no matter which era you’re listening to.

Ignitor’s latest offering is a download only album of classic covers.  It’s a great mix of classic metal covering some of my favorites bands.

McMaster was made to cover all of these bands giving them his unique vocal flair and Ignitor in general stayed pretty true to these songs without taking any real liberties in the music.  The Stuart “Batlord” solos are all pretty incredible and the opening solo to Into the Coven gave me chills when I first heard it.  He completely nailed the tone.  While I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Exodus’ Bonded By Blood or Exciter’s Violence and Force, these covers are well done.  I’m especially impressed with their version of Anthrax’s Deathrider.  Fistful of Metal often gets overlooked in Anthrax conversations.  The cover of Highway Star has the proper intro like Deep Purple’s original and the heaviness of Metal Church’s version.   I’m also a huge fan of Witching Hour.  And you gotta love that album cover!

You can stream the album here and I recommend that you buy it from iTunes or Amazon ASAP!  Both are under $8!

Quality metal covers from a quality metal band.

“DEATHRIDER” – Anthrax
“FAST AS A SHARK” – Accept
“VIOLENCE AND FORCE”  – Exciter
“INTO THE COVEN” – Mercyful Fate
“WITCHING HOUR” – Venom
“HELL BENT FOR LEATHER” – Judas Priest
“A LESSON IN VIOLENCE” – Exodus
“HIGHWAY STAR” – Deep Purple

Venomous Maximus – Beg Upon The Light (2012) Review

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I had seen Venomous Maximus at least 6 or 7 times before finally putting ears to any of their studio work.  They are always a treat live.  Super solid, energetic and G. Lee Higgins is the right person to front this band that calls Houston, TX its home.

A few weeks back at a show I bought their latest release, Beg Upon the Light.  It took me almost 2 weeks to finally get around to listening to it and now I feel like I have wasted 2 weeks!  I had to drive to Houston and back this week (2.5 hours each way) and listened to this 3 times on the drive.  Oh my!

This album is very well-produced.  I guess they are considered “stoner/doom” metal.  I hear so much more classic metal sounds that came from Metal Blade and other classic labels.  I hear elements of Tyrant, Damien Thorne, Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath and Cirith Ungol.

Higgins’ voice may take some time for folks to get used to.  I, for one, think they’re perfect for the band.  There’s no death growl that is so rampant in the stoner/doom genre these days.  His voice is clean and clear and typically lower than most metal singers today.  Think King Diamond’s low vocals with Mercyful Fate with a little more “umph” behind them or maybe even those from early Moonspell (Wolfheart).  He has a really good sorrowful wail to his style.

The rest of band is spot on with their delivery.  I especially like Christian’s solos (I always want more solos!).  His solo intro on Path of Doom is such a beautiful nod to Mercyful Fate.  Bongo and Trevi round out the rhythm section perfectly.
Favorite tracks would be Path of Doom, Battle for the Cross, Hell’s Heroes and Moonchild.

I highly recommend this album and so far I’d call it my favorite album of 2012.  10/10.  Go see them live!

You can stream the whole album here.  Find them on Facebook, too.

Written by The Metal Files

November 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

Ignitor – Year of the Metal Tiger (2012) Review

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Ignitor is a traditional US metal band fronted by the legendary Jason McMaster and has Stuart “Batlord” Laurence from Agony Column as its main songwriter and guitarist.  They’ve been around since 2003 and Jason’s been with them since about 2008 and recorded their Spider Queen album.

Just recently they’ve released Year of the Metal Tiger (YOTMT).  I like this album far better than Spider Queen which was a little too dramatic for my tastes, even though the music fit the storyline perfectly.  YOTMT is heavy, the way it should be.  Other than the track We Are Ignitor, I think the album is quite enjoyable, especially the tracks Shadow of the Needle, The Kaiser and Island of the Damned.

McMaster is using a lot of his mid-range vocal style and it sounds great, really makes the album for me.

I can easily give this album 7.5/10.  The production is crisp and the bass is very prominent.  You’ll likely have to adjust the EQ to accommodate it.

Recommended.

Written by The Metal Files

April 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Riot – Immortal Soul Review

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I’ve talked about Riot more than once on this site and about how I really love the Thundersteel era over the Fire Down Under era.  Don’t get me wrong, FDU is a great album and extremely influential, but I prefer the more metal/powermetal version of Riot, partially because of Bobby Jarzombek.

I was fortunate enough to see the Riot reunion show in June of 2009 in San Antonio.  It was quite special.  They mentioned at that show that a new album would be forthcoming, then I believe Tony Moore left…then came back.  Great news!

Once the album buzz started getting posted around the web, it got me excited.  I love this band with Moore on vocals.  He sounded really good live in 09.  I finally got the album via iTunes a while back after hearing a few songs that had been posted around the YouTube and such and liked what I heard.

Upon getting the full version, I gave it several listens, at least 15 now.  This is a strong album and well worth owning if you’re a fan of that era of the band’s music.  Bobby Jarzombek shows off his amazing skills as expected.  That guy is awesome, period.  The guitar work is really good, some of the best I’ve ever heard from Reale.  I assume that Flyntz is doing some of the solos too, but not 100% sure.

Lyrically it’s what you would expect.  They obviously made an effort to make this sound like the followup to Thundersteel and not necessarily the followup to Privilege of Power.  The songs are strong and some have their fair amount of lyrical cheese, but it works well.  It’s a fun album.

If I had to make a complaint, it would be on the vocals.   To my ears there sounds like a lot of fixes to Tony’s vocals.  Lots of harmonizer.  It does get annoying in spots but generally doesn’t detract from the album as a whole.

Highlight tracks for me would be Still Your Man (which is basically Johnny’s Back pt 2), Riot, Sins of the Father, Fall Before Me, Wings are for angels.

If you don’t have this album yet, get it.  8/10

Written by The Metal Files

December 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance Review

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First and foremost, John Arch is in my top 2 or 3 singers of all time.  Personally I feel that man can do no wrong vocally.  His 3 albums with Fates Warning are easily the best 3 consecutive albums a band could ever dream to put out.  From Night On Brocken to Awaken the Guardian his voice progressed along with Fates’ music.  By the time Awaken came out, I felt the band had set a standard for themselves that would make a follow-up album tough to compare.  Then I read in one of the metal magazines that Arch had left the band.  Seriously?  Then out comes No Exit, a serious let down for me.  It wasn’t that Ray Alder was a bad singer, but that certain something that only Arch could bring to the table wasn’t there.  No Exit is a good album in its own right and I’ll be the first to admit that Perfect Symmetry is a great record, but still, it didn’t have John and after that one I was done with Fates Warning forever.  They got too light and proggy for me.

In 2003 Arch released the 2 song EP A Twist of Fate and it was great to hear his voice again.  At the beginning of this year it was announced that he had signed on with Jim Matheos to do an album.  The band was dubbed Arch/Matheos and also includes journeyman bassist Joey Vera, Bobby Jarzombek and Frank Aresti.  Wait, why not just call it Fates Warning?  I’m sure respect for Ray and probaby some legal issues abound that keep that from happening along with John probably not in the mode for touring.  Fair enough.

But for me, this is a Fates Warning album.  This is the album that could have followed Awaken the Guardian.  I finally bought this from iTunes this past Friday night and have listened to it about 8 times all the way through along with the new Anthrax album.  This one’s better by a county mile, no disrespect to ‘Thrax.

I am loving this album on so many levels and for so many reasons.  John’s voice and lyrical phrasing, the lyrics, Bobby Jarzombek’s drumming, Aresti’s contributions, Matheos’ riffage and song structures.  I only wish the bass was a tad more prominent.

The album consists of 6 songs that all seem to flow together very well, much like they do on Awaken.  Under a stained Glass Sky is my favorite so far, but the whole album just great.  And seriously, Bobby Jarzombek is easily one of the best drummers in metal today along with Van Williams (Pure Sweet Hell/ex-Nevermore).  Bobby doesn’t suck and he is perfect for this project.

This album is beautiful from front to back surely a must for any John Arch-era Fates Warning Fan.  I am calling it the album of the year and it gets a 10/10.  This will stay in steady rotation and I can’t get enough of it already.  While it’s not Awaken the Guardian or Spectre Within, it is a wonderful new Fates Warning album with a phenomenal singer/lyricist.

I hope that a second album could be in the works somewhere down the road.  This is good enough to warrant a follow-up.  A tour?  Please?  Doubtful I know, but a man can dream, yes?

Again…10/10.  Buy it!

Written by The Metal Files

September 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm